Eccentric Flower:201107/Catch Basin
From Eccentric Flower
A friend asked me, "So, is this one of the times when you're trying to punish everybody else for not doing what we want you to do? 'Well, you don't give me the attention I need, so I'm not going to do anything but give you cat pictures?'"
[This is the kind of reaction I get. Another example: I took some mild mocking from Patrick the last time I saw him in person where he (speaking in character as me) said something like, "Oh, I've moved everything yet again and left no trail and now I'm upset because no one reads anything I post!" We were with others and I was trying to be good and not piss on the joy of the day, so I did not snarl about how I had left plenty of indicators, plenty of warnings, plenty of roadmap, and tried to explain the move, oh, seven or eight times and nobody seemed to get it - either that or they just weren't bothering to pay attention.
With friends like these, who needs enemas?]
Anyway, going back to the other friend kicking me in the face: Once I had waited long enough to stifle the impulse to write back, "No, that's not true, and I'm so offended by your conclusions that I don't think I ever want to talk to you again," I gave a real answer.
A few years ago - everything is "a few years ago" now, so I don't have to think about how long ago some of the things actually were - when Karen Meisner stopped writing in her non-LJ journal space for the first time, she posted a note about how (I paraphrase, because it's long gone) she'd come to realize that the space she was in, the things she needed to talk about, were not useful to her or to others to post publicly, and anyway people mostly seemed to come for "the funny bits with Pär in them", so that was the part she was still leaving up.
I'm sorry I never got a chance to know Karen better, although I suspect it never would have happened anyway, because we have enough mutual similarities to really annoy each other in some fairly nasty ways. Karen's approach was a sound one, and I'm not just now figuring this out in 2011. I figured it out long ago. The problem is, I didn't have any funny bits with Pär in them (or equivalent). If I tried to rip out my journal just to the good bits, there wouldn't be anything left. I haven't had good bits in my journal for more than a decade.
Truth be told, that's why my archives are in such a lousy state; I started cleaning them, was consumed by sadness for a time when I actually wrote about interesting things now and then and the realization that I had forgotten how to get back to there. And my archaeology stopped abruptly.
So the point is, in May I decided on a take-no-prisoners policy of "say something good or don't say it at all." And the stuff in my Tumblr - the shiny objects and interesting articles and divers linkage (I've actually only posted a cat picture once, I think) is the only good stuff I've got. I realize that if you were looking for rants or something deeper, it leaves you unsatisfied. I realize that the Tumblr/Disqus setup is not very conducive to discussion. I realize it shows you very little of the actual me and what's going on in my life. But you're not listening nearly hard enough when I tell you: Take what you can get. That is all I am prepared to offer at this time. It may be all I am prepared to offer for the rest of my life.
There is nothing else besides those fluffy bits that I want anyone else in the world to see; there is nothing else besides those fluffy bits I even want me to see. I don't have the time, energy, or inclination to be introspective anymore or rant anymore. I don't want to think about the inside of my head, and I have no particular good reason to, seeing as how I tend to be a lot happier when I don't.
Some time back, I began using an iPad which travels with me every day. I had a very specific set of needs and considerations which led to the adoption of that device (I'd write the whole matter up, but it falls under Topics Which Are Insufficiently of Interest To Waste Time Writing - see below), and it has been a great success.
Among other consequences of this success, and the reason I mention it at all, is that the two times since the adoption of that device when I have had one of my serious mental-loop meltdowns, I've been able to write a couple of paragraphs of raw notes about what's going on in my head on the iPad, right then and there, even in the middle of the night - and thus, by doing so, flush the topic without having to write at length about it here and make everyone's life, including mine, a little worse off by doing so. I am able to keep the spiralling despair to myself; I am able to placate it just enough to make it go away again.
So that's sorted, as they say. Now I'm dealing with the more difficult battle, which is suppressing all the topics my brain wants to talk about at length but which would be a Waste of Time to write down. That's basically everything, but a part of my brain is really, really stubborn about this. (It came up with an idea for a new novel the other night. Needless to say, I need to write another novel like I need a hole in the head.)
I've come to this space, oh, I don't know, seven or eight times in the month of June. Each time, I managed in the nick of time to not write. I approve of not writing. Every time I don't write something here, it is a triumph of good sense. This entry is a lapse, and the only reason I'm giving in is that I know you all still don't understand and I think it's worth it to make one last attempt to explain it to you.
Work has been extremely psychologically grueling in the last month, and it will continue to be so through the end of August. I could detail the circumstances, tell the tale - but who would I be telling the tale for? Most of you don't care; the few who really do care can be dropped hints on Twitter or elsewhere which will have all you need to know. Tell the whole story for my own sake? I'd have done that once, as a sort of historical record for my own brain. Now I'm no longer sure my brain will ever want to hear about it again.
The list of topics which are Not Worth It gets longer and longer every day. I am hoping one day to arrive at a point where only the shiny objects are left. And though I will have driven some of you away, ideally I will have attracted others. Because I believe I am correct about everyone's tastes, in the main; I believe I'm being accurate when I say that the shiny objects are the only part that most other people actually want to see, the only real value I can contribute.
Even that's a slim hope. I have given up the idea that people will come to see fiction; I've given up the idea that they will come to see essays. I've given up the idea that any long-form writing that doesn't have pretty pictures will ever get an audience. I should never have written the first four pages of the household-electricity article, but apparently I needed yet another reminder. The only long writing on this site (or any of its previous incarnations) which ever got any significant traffic was the Chinese-menu pages, and that's only because it was linked on Metafilter one day. [Other sites have been linked on Metafilter and been brought to their knees by the traffic for days. I got a minor spike in visits for about 24 hours.]
No, I'm pretty sure that if I'm ever going to have any success it will be as an anthologist only, as an aggregator of shiny objects. But even then, it seems like an unlikely road. I can't compete with the people who can literally surf the web 24 hours a day; I do have work to do. I can't compete with the people who have whole crews doing this. The only value I can provide is the filter through the lens of my own tastes, and there the audience is intrinsically limited to people who 1) know my tastes and 2) like them.
I realize I'm pretty nasty about people who are supposed to be my friends. I realize it takes a pretty strong stomach to stand here while I habitually abuse you. The only thing I offer in my defense is that whatever abuse I've given you, it isn't even a shadowy fraction of what I give myself. And yet, despite my abject failure in everything, I still can't seem to get rid of the egotistical part of myself that keeps expecting things it can't have. I can't seem to kill it. It thinks that everyone instantly comes to read its words as soon as they're posted anywhere, that everyone else checks its own pages as often as it does, that everyone else reads Twitter as compulsively as it does. It thinks it deserves fame and acclaim. It can't understand why people don't magically become instant fans. It thinks, in short, that everyone else is as interested in it as it is.
I'm going to purge that egotistical soul from my brain if it's the last thing I do. And I will become a better person for it. And, in theory at least, it should be easy to do: All I have to do is give up everything I ever wanted.
But I've said way too much and I know you aren't really interested in my neuroses. That's not a slight; why should you be? You have your own problems, your own occupations, your own lives to lead. The unreasonable person here is me for expecting that anyone would be interested to begin with.
Bottom line is: I figure the very least I can do - and I mean the very least - is not pollute the world with the inside of my head. I may not be able to contribute anything positive, but by god I can avoid contributing anything negative.
You know where the shiny objects are. See you there.